Why Gold OA is better than Green OA
Imagine if there was a kind of free software called Green Free Software. Perhaps kernel.org would be accessible only to people who paid to subscribe to it. Authors of patches for the Linux kernel would have to submit them first to Linus Torvalds; if the patch was accepted, the author could then self-archive it in a separate OA source-code repository after an embargo of one year. There would be many different OA repositories of Linux patches, all containing different patches. Companies like IBM and Intel, whose employees contribute to Linux, would have OA ‘company repositories’ for their employees’ patches. Many authors wouldn’t bother doing the extra work to self-archive their patches. As a result, it would be impossible to get all the latest patches (and hence to get a complete, up-to-date Linux kernel) without paying for a subscription to kernel.org. In an attempt to solve this problem, some companies would establish ‘mandates’ to require their employees to self-archive in their company’s repsoitory. Of course these mandates would not affect independent programmers. Even if the mandates were 100% successful, anyone wishing to assemble a complete kernel would have to download patches from hundreds of different company repositories and combine them together.
Now ask yourself: would that be a better system than the one we have now, where anyone can download the latest complete kernel from kernel.org for free?